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Quality Agency announces consumer comments to be included in audit reports

To support consumer choice in residential aged care, the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency has announced it will collect and publish comments from residents and families regarding quality of care.

Over the next year the agency will be gathering and making public data from consumers and their representatives about the quality of care provided and the resident’s quality of life within an aged care facility.

The agency’s CEO Nick Ryan told the Play Up conference this week that people wanted to know information beyond whether a facility was safe or clean, but what the people who lived there and their families had to say about the quality of the service.

“I think people deserve that public information,” he said.

The agency has confirmed to Australian Ageing Agenda that this data will be published on its website as part of site audit reports from January 2017.

Currently the agency conducts interviews with over 54,000 consumers and their representatives each year when it undertakes accreditation audits. This information is used alongside observation and documentation to assess a facility’s performance against the accreditation. However, the agency told AAA it now planned to systematically capture consumer feedback using a validated interview tool and include this in its audit reports.

The agency said that publishing this information would “give aged care service providers greater insights into the outcomes of care for consumers and provide information from a trusted source for consumers about the quality of care.”

Mr Ryan said the agency will work with consumers and the aged care industry “to get this right.”

Responding to the agency’s announcement, Council of the Ageing (COTA) chief executive Ian Yates said older people and their families will always welcome useful information about the quality of aged care services.

“COTA has not yet been consulted on this proposal so we look forward to the agency talking with us about the specifics of how they plan to collect, aggregate and use such information and ensure it is rigorous and credible, especially in light of the variable quality of resident and family interviews during the current accreditation process,” Mr Yates told AAA.

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3 Responses to Quality Agency announces consumer comments to be included in audit reports

  1. Ted Wards March 21, 2016 at 11:33 am #

    I find this hard to believe. We have just completed our audit and the high degree of client satisfaction with our service had little to do with our results and not even mentioned in the final report. They were really only interested in what pieces of paper we had. The focus on service was practically nil. The cost to our organisation for this whole process is not even taken into consideration. The Agency forgets that this all takes time and considerable resources to meet these standards which at the end of the day have little to do with actual service provision. Our services are always delivered and rarely ever cancelled, and even the agency team were quite surprised at that fact plus the very high level of client satisfaction. Yet the focus was on pieces of paper. So now all the pieces of paper are in place and it has not made one scrap of difference to the high standards of services we offer. I suppose those its those pieces of paper that keep people employed and how you create empires!

  2. J. Baker March 22, 2016 at 11:42 am #

    Getting resident and family feedback on service provided is a great idea, as mentioned it will go beyond being safe and clean which is an expectation of all aged care facilities. Most services collect complaints and compliments to show off when an unannounced visit happens or re-accreditation looms, getting feedback at other times from residents and their families opens the door for recognition of staff who provide exceptional care all day every day. For me, this can only be a positive move in the right direction. I would also like to suggest feedback after a loved one has passed away to collect valuable information about palliation within residential aged care, this would be especially beneficial for facilities that have introduced a palliative approach.

  3. Dave May 3, 2016 at 8:12 pm #

    Who will decide which comments are published?

    “Mr Ryan said the agency will work with consumers and the aged care industry “to get this right.” What is it that you need get right? Just publish the comments. No doubt the industry will ensure everything is screened and sanitised first.

    If the AACQA is genuinely interested in publishing information the public ‘deserves’, perhaps they could start with ALL the correspondence between provider and agency rather than just the generic final audit results. Or at least explain why those documents are protected information?

    Not a very transparent and confidence-inspiring way for a watchdog to monitor the care of our elderly.

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